Sir Keir Starmer announces plans for 'Great British Energy' company during north Wales visit

  • ITV Wales journalist Carole Green reports

UK Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has announced a plan to launch a publicly owned clean energy company during a visit to north Wales on Monday.

The £8.3 billion plan to build floating offshore wind farms is the first investment that the company, Great British Energy, would carry out if the Labour party is elected in a UK General Election.

The party says it would create "tens of thousands of skilled jobs across Wales".

Sir Keir was joined by new First Minister Vaughan Gething at the port of Holyhead as he unveiled the plan to reduce reliance on foreign energy and to "get Putin's boot of our throat".

It follows rising energy costs after Vladimir Putin launched an illegal invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

But the Conservatives have criticized the announcement calling it "unfunded spending" which could result in "higher taxes" for families.

Sir Keir Starmer and the First Minister Vaughan Gething met soon after Mr Gething took office. Credit: PA Images

Should Labour win the next UK General election, the party has pledged to give an initial £8.3 billion to 'Great British Energy' over the course of the next five-year Parliament.

Shadow Welsh Secretary Jo Stevens, the MP for Cardiff Central, has said that money will be sourced from a 75% windfall tax on oil and gas producers.

Speaking to Times Radio Breakfast, Ms Stevens said that Labour would be "borrowing to invest, not borrowing to binge" in raising funds needed for the "exciting, bold and ambitious plan."

She said the Conservatives had "crashed" the economy with "short-sighted" decisions, and that the Great British Energy company would be a network of "jobs and infrastructure that will be built to last".

First Minister Vaughan Gething has said: "With new ambition, Wales can take its place at the frontier of a green jobs revolution that fuels new ambition and expands horizons.

“From groundbreaking tidal energy investment to the birth of Wales’ publicly owned energy company - Ynni Cymru - our Welsh Labour Government is building that future here in north Wales.

"The missing ingredient is a UK Government with the will to back Wales’ economic potential."

Both Mr Gething and Sir Keir added that if there is both a Labour government in Westminster and Cardiff Bay by the end of this year, it will be based on working closely in the interests of Wales.

In response, the UK Secretary of State for the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero Claire Coutinho, said:

“Sir Keir Starmer can’t say what he will do to protect our energy security because he does not have a plan - he set out a 2030 decarbonisation promise, which Labour themselves costed at £28 billion without a plan to pay for it.

“Not only does he not have a plan of his own, but he also voted against our North Sea Oil and Gas Bill, which will protect over 200,000 jobs and maximise our energy security.

“The choice is clear: stick with the Conservatives to deliver long-term energy security. Or go back to square one with Labour, whose unfunded spending promises will mean higher taxes for hardworking families.”

Whilst on his visit to Holyhead, Sir Keir was also asked about the potential of a new nuclear power plant in Anglesey, saying that there is the ambition to invest in the area.

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